Dominion

 

Fr. Frank Pavone

 
  11/8/2000
  It is not surprising, in post-election analysis, that those who worship regularly tend to vote for pro-life candidates. The attitude of worship is directly contrary to that of "pro-choice."

Worship says, "God is the Lord of my choices." The "pro-choice" mentality is, "I am the Lord of my choices. Whatever I decide is right, is right for me." The whole teaching of the Gospel, of course, is that authentic freedom is found in submitting ourselves to the Lordship of Christ. Ultimately, the struggle over abortion is a struggle over the sovereignty of God.

In fact, the dominion of God over human life is the key doctrine on which the Church's opposition to abortion rests. This is more precisely the foundation, rather than any position about when the soul is created and infused into the body. Some proponents of abortion point to various theological positions through the centuries which placed "ensoulment" at different points after conception, and thus regarded abortion as a different kind of offense depending on when it was performed. The two points to keep in mind when you hear this are that first, abortion was always regarded as wrong, no matter what kind of wrong it was classified as. Second, the basis for saying it is wrong is that God alone is Lord of Life; He alone gives it, sustains it, and takes it to Himself.

It is in this doctrine, moreover, that we find the basis for the Church's opposition also to artificial contraception, infanticide, and euthanasia. God alone has dominion over human life and over the entire process of its coming to be. The Holy Father describes, in Evangelium Vitae, that abortion and contraception are related "as fruits of the same tree." That tree is the separation of our freedom from the dominion of God and His truth.

We also find here a key to resolving what many find to be an apparent contradiction: the Church's opposition to abortion and contraception on the one hand, and to artificial reproduction on the other. If the Church is for life, they ask, why does it oppose artificial reproduction? The answer is that the process and fruit of reproduction is the gift of a human person rather than a "product" of human ingenuity and skill. As a gift, given by a sovereign God, a new life can neither be destroyed nor demanded.

I was once praying at an abortion facility with a group of pro-life activists and the diocesan respect life director of the area. One man had his toes over the property line of the facility, and someone on the inside yelled, "Get your feet off our property!" He politely complied. I then asked aloud to the workers in the facility, "And when are you going to get your hands off God's property?"

He indeed has dominion. May we, in freely assenting to it, find our true and only fulfillment.